The Rebel King

- Kennedy Ryan


Though surrender is what Maxim Cade demanded of Lennix Hunter's body and heart, she had other plans. They were fast-burning fascination and combustible chemistry, the son of an oil baron and the Apache daughter at war with his family, but she trusted him, and he turned out to be a thief who stole her love.

Still, if what they had was a lie, why had it felt so real?

Now, the man she swore to hate is about to have it all, and he wants Lennix at his side. But when the two of them are forced to face the unthinkable, their rocky foundation is tested, as is the invisible thread that seems to wind their fates together. As they navigate a treacherous political landscape in their quest for justice, Maxim and Lennix soon learn that power is a game, and they are merely the pawns and players. Facing insurmountable odds, will they win the world, or will they lose it all?



I'm running.

Desert wind whistles past my ears and whips through my hair. My feet are feathers, light, quick, but my arms and legs are lead, the muscles aching and burning.


enjoyable/easy to read:

* Thanks to NetGalley and Bloom Books for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. *

With a little more plot than The Kingmaker’s ‘boy meets girl then stalks her until she finally gives in’, The Rebel King may not have been revolutionary, but it was very easy to read.

Does anyone else think hanging out with Lennix and Maxim would be infuriating? I understand that they’ve gone through a lot and are also in the whole obnoxious couple honeymoon phase, but come on. Maxim is so territorial I kept forgetting this wasn’t a fantasy romance, which makes his mated fae response to very innocent comments massive red flags in a human relationship. And considering how little time they were capable of spending together in public before giving in to getting naked, I’m not sure how we’re supposed to believe they were hiding their relationship from the public. Unfortunately, both of these characters were ones I liked less the more I got to know them.

I defended Ryan's choice to write Lennix as an Indigenous woman in my review for The Kingmaker, and while I still mostly stand by that, there are a few moments that probably should have been handled differently.

One moment in particular was Maxim’s father telling Lennix that his company wouldn’t build any more pipelines on Indigenous land. While satisfying on a personal level, it felt very clumsy and white saviour-y. As if the only reason this is an actual problem in the real world is because no oil baron heirs have fallen in love with Indigenous people. What a joke.

There's lots of spice, but it's not written much better than what we got in The Kingmaker. It had the same predictable pattern, which was already routine before The Rebel King. I wish they had built this relationship on more than their independent personalities and their chemistry because it makes what is supposed to be a rare and beautiful partnership feel pretty shallow.

The politics were much more stilted and uncomfortable this time around. In The Kingmaker, a lot of the awkwardness of Maxim and Lennix's bluster and grand proclamations could be explained by their youth and inexperience. Because the focus after Amsterdam was on the relationship, there was a lot less focus on their careers and causes. In The Rebel King, though, we could barely make it through a conversation without someone spouting textbook definitions or quoting statistics that no one would have memorised unless they had just crammed for a test. It was clunky and disengaging. I’m already on board; you don’t need to convince me that climate change is bad, women shouldn’t be murdered, and that your relationship status doesn't compromise your ability to do your job. If the point was to try to convert those readers who don’t believe these things, I don’t think long speeches that needed editing were the way to do it.

As usual, I want to focus on all the negatives - why is it so hard to write reviews that focus on the good parts? Or is that just me? But even talking about how I wish I could focus on the positives, I’m struggling to think of any, and it’s making me feel like I may need to adjust my rating… two books may have been a little too much time with these characters.



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